Adapt quickly to the new rules

Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

I wasn’t aware of Selco — even though “Selco is a household name in prepping and survival circles” — but commenter Space Nookie informs me that the founder of the SHTF School has a new book out, The Dark Secrets of SHTF Survival: The Brutal Truth About Violence, Death, & Mayhem You Must Know to Survive:

He survived the Balkan War in a city with no power, no running water, and no supplies. For a year, he and his family fought every single day for bare subsistence. Over the years since the war, Selco has written nearly a quarter of a million words of memories, articles, and advice. This book is a collection of his darkest moments. The first thing you must do when disaster strikes is to adapt quickly to the “new rules” that apply when the SHTF. And to do that, you need to know what it’s like so you won’t be shocked…frozen…paralyzed by the atrocities taking place right in front of you. This book is Selco’s version of tough love. There’s nothing watered down about it. It is a collection of stories, memories, and articles he has documented over the past decade. He has revisited those horrible days to give us the reality check we must have. It’s a glimpse into the day-to-day events of the SHTF. It is smelly. It is dirty. It’s dark and brutal. It’s REAL. It is all the stuff that Selco rarely talks about because the memories are so ugly.

Sounds delightful.


  1. Kirk says:


    See, here’s the thing: Survival in the Balkans is kinda predicated on a certain… Mental environment, shall we say? And, if you apply it elsewhere, well… Here’s what’s gonna happen: It’s going to turn into a Mad Max self-fulfilling prophecy, because what serves as behavioral norms in, say, Bosnia or Serbia…? You apply those norms in the Midwestern US, and you’re going to wind up provoking a response from your neighbors that you are really not going to like.

    Granted, you do the same in Caracas, and you might do very well–It’s just that the set of social norms and behaviors that worked to ensure survival in the Balkan dysfunctional morass are probably going to serve to piss off everyone around you, and result in them deciding to either take you out, or let you die by yourself, when you take them to another cultural environment. Your mileage may vary, and you want to make damn sure you understand what the hell is going on in the milieu around you.

    People’s responses to social stimuli vary wildly–Had the Germans decided, for example, that they wanted to make their whipping boys a bunch of people whose ideals and ideations had more in common with the natives of the North Sentinel Islands, well… Yeah. I’m not seeing those folks being quite as compliant with the orders to get on the trains, or be rounded up. In fact, I suspect strongly that the Germans would have given up on the whole idea, at about the time they realized they were losing entire Gestapo offices to attempts at rounding up those hypothetical “victims”.

    Human terrain knowledge is just as important to survival as anything else, and what works in one set of circumstances ain’t necessarily going to work in others. At. All.

    Frankly, most of the Serbs, Muslims, and Croats that I knew who were first-generation, here in the US? In a crisis, they’d have been people I shot out of hand, mostly because they were entirely incapable of working with others and doing anything cooperative. They were the people who’d be stealing sandbags for themselves from around the community food storage, and taking shared resources for themselves, their families, and their friends. Entirely too much self-interest and selfishness, which might have been behavioral traits that helped survival in their home environment, but which positively detract from it among other sorts of people.

  2. Sam J. says:

    I’ve read a bunch of his stuff online. It’s very entertaining, sorta…

    He does stress that everyone before the war was just normal and there was no great animosity but when things turned bad it immediately went tribal and each group went after each other.

    He also noted that if you were starving you would do things you never thought you would before.

    I think and I believe he said that a driver of this was no one was there to stop the wicked so the wicked amped up the whole situation and if you did not become a little wicked yourself you were just one of eaten ones. People who were nothing before became wealthy gang leaders. Important Men.

  3. Kirk says:

    I think that what happened in Bosnia stems from the somewhat… Ah, how shall I put it…? Uniquely Balkan? Yeah; that’s a polite way to phrase it: Uniquely Balkan milieu.

    Those bastards have a history, and none of them have ever forgotten it, Serb, Croat, Bosnian Muslim… Any of them. What happened in Bosnia stems entirely from that, and the utter collapse of civilization that came after the whole thing cascaded wouldn’t have happened in quite the same way, anywhere else. It sure as hell wouldn’t have happened in say, England or New Zealand, unless some damn fool were to bring in hordes of primitive outsiders… But, I digress.

    You try to apply the rules of Bosnia in rural Minnesota, you’re going to die at the hands of a deputation of neighbors, you betcha’. They’ll put up with some of your self-serving BS, and then there’s gonna be a bit of a meeting, followed by a consensus being reached, and you’re going to self-serve yourself right into a bonfire involving your house and you, possibly your wife and kids, as well. The rural Minnesotans haven’t taken up the reflexive generational feud, as of yet, and if your wife and kids behave themselves and become good community members, they might survive. Or, not.

    Same-same in a place like Iceland; apply Bosnia rules there, watch what happens. You won’t like it.

  4. Space Nookie says:

    Yeah, I could have sworn that I found Selco’s blog through this blog, but the search engine shows nothing. Maybe in the comments.

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